Oxford research project on civil resistance: Lebanon meetings

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    Panel at the Issam Fares Institute of Public Policy & International Affairs, American University of Beirut, 3 October

How unified, or diverse, were the phenomena covered by the term 'the Arab Spring'? What are the best explanations of why they ran into difficulties in so many countries? Why were peaceful demonstrations in Syria and Yemen followed by long wars? Why was democratization so difficult to achieve? What lessons can be learned about the possibilities of political change, and the capacity of civil resistance to achieve it?

These and many other questions were discussed in well-attended and lively meetings in Lebanon in October 2017 to launch the Arabic translation (published this month by All Prints, Beirut), of Adam Roberts, Michael J. Willis, Rory McCarthy & Timothy Garton Ash (eds.), Civil Resistance in the Arab Spring: Triumphs and Disasters (Oxford University Press, 2016). This is the second book to have resulted from the Oxford University Research Project on Civil Resistance and Power Politics, within the Department of Politics and International Relations.

The photo shows the panel at the Issam Fares Institute of Public Policy & International Affairs at the American University of Beirut on 3 October. From left to right, the speakers (and topics of their talks) were:

  • Elham Fakhro, doctoral student at St Antony’s College (Bahrain)
  • Michael Willis, Fellow in Moroccan & Mediterranean Studies, St Antony’s (Tunisia and Morocco)
  • Dr Tarek Mitri, Director, Issam Fares Institute and a minister in four Lebanese governments (Chair; starting with a critique of writing about revolutions)
  • Adam Roberts, Principal Investigator of the Project (Fate of the Arab Spring)
  • Helen Lackner, Oxford-based author (Yemen)
  • Edward Mortimer, All Souls College (Precursors of the Arab Spring)

The full talk is available to watch here:

Al Jadeed TV, one of the main broadcasters in the Arab world, reported this meeting on its evening news programme.  This clip is available to watch at (beginning at 37m 45s).

The previous evening (2 October) the team from Oxford was present at a discussion in Arabic of the new edition of this book in the splendid surroundings of Bayt al-fann (House of Art), a 19th century house in Tripoli. The main speakers were Dr Zahida Darwiche, Chair of the Lebanese Commission for UNESCO, Dr Khaled Ziadeh, Director of the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies, Beirut, and Lebanese Ambassador to Egypt 2007–16, and Professor Chibli Mallat, international lawyer based in Beirut, and co-author of the chapter on precursors of the Arab Spring.

On 5 October an additional meeting was held at the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies, Beirut. Speakers included Dr Khaled Ziadeh, Professor Chibli Mallat, and four other contributors to the book. Click here for the full Facebook video of this discussion.

Professor Sir Adam Roberts is Senior Research Fellow, Department of Politics & International Relations